REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, "O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as aulia. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you - then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people. "(Surah Al Maidah: 51)
I wrote the Alquran surah Al Maidah verse 51 as its original word, "aulia". The word "aulia" has been interpreted as allies or loyal friends, leader and even protector. In Islam, such diverse was not something to argue about. One should not blame others for it. Every Muslim are pleased to follow their own belief.
In the context of the Jakarta gubernatorial election, some parties using this verse to reject Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) candidacy. However, he was accepted by other parties. How many percent who refused Ahok because of this factor? No one has the number, but is not expected fantastic. Most people who reject Ahok mainly were because other factors, such as his way of communication, leadership style, Jakarta bay reclamation case, ethnic preferences, the appeal of the other candidates, evictions, and etc.
It was proved in the Joko Widodo (Jokowi)-Ahok victory in the Jakarta gubernatorial election in 2012. At that time, most parties have realized that Jokowi would register in the 2014 presidential election. During the moment, there was a campaign not to vote Jokowi-Ahok because Jokowi will run in the presidential election. Moreover, there were a precedents regarding Jokowi's partner. When he served as Solo Mayor, his vice was a Christian [Catholic]. After Jokowi was elected as Jakarta governor, FX Hadi Rudyatmo has to replace him as Solo Mayor. But such campaign was not effective at that time. Jakarta residents still vote for Jokowi-Ahok and then Jokowi-Jusuf Kalla have won in the presidential election in the 2014.
So, why Ahok's religion is now seems like a serious problem? There are many factors. First, the issue has been combined with Ahok negative factor. It resonances very loud. Second factor, apparently there was an individual who wanted to use the issue to take advantage of candidates. It might be from Ahok's side or another candidates.
Why Ahok? Well, religious sentiments in Indonesian politics, particularly Jakarta, is not always beneficial for Muslim candidates. Indonesian citizens generally preferred inclusiveness and tolerance. Tolerance has been the soul of Indonesian since the ages, before the religion and faith such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islamic, and Christian came into the archipelago.
On the other hand, voters who rejected Ahok based on religious factor did not vote Ahok in the first place. So, religion sentiments were usless to be blown to attack Ahok.
Indeed, there was hope to get the vote from the swing voters who are undecided. But these voters generally prefer to vote following general trend or the rational voters. Rational voters certainly has no religion preference. Voters who follow trends also loved fun things. Just like when Jokowi won the 2014 presidential election, he held Konser Dua Jari (Two Fingers Concert).
So, religion issue only gave a little advantage to the Ahok's opponents. Ahok campaign team then using the diction such as Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI), pluralism, and no ethnic, religious, racial and social group (SARA) sentiments. However, many emotional people did not understand. Also there are emotional factors are easily provoked.
On the other hand, in some other areas, Muslim as majority population, there are also Christian chosen as regional head. Parties and mass Islamic-based ideology supported the non-Muslim candidates. That's why religious factor is not dominant factor. But, we could not neglected the fact that some people has rejected Non-Muslim leader based on religious belief. We could not urge people to have same aspiration.
Even in the United States of America (USA), such campaigns also have been conducted. For example, when Barack H Obama ran for presidential election in 2008. People were using Obama’s Muslim father as sentiment. Obama was alleged Muslim for having Hussein as middle name. He even accused to have studied in the Islamic school while living in Indonesia. Although he was studied in state school for a short time and another longer period in Christian school in Jakarta. That was the reality of a pluralistic society and harsh political reality.
However, at this point, it was who Ahok took himself to this issue. This was his speech at the Pramuka Island, Seribu Islands, on September 27, 2016:
"May be in your inner hearts, ladies and gentleman could not vote me. (You have been) lied with surah Al Maidah 51, etc... (audience laughs). It's your right, ladies and gentleman. So if you feel you coud not vote me because 'I am afraid to go to hell'... as you are being fooled ... it's alright. Because it was your intuition, ladies and gentleman."
And the next day, on 28 September, the report on Ahok's speech to the Election Supervisory Body was on the news. On Youtube, on September 28, someone uploaded news from BeritaSatu TV about Ahok's response to the case. Ahok denied his speech was meant to harass. "Everyone is allowed to take a quote from scripture. The scriptures are open to the public," he said.
Ahok even claimed that the Alquran has been contested through Alquran Recitation Competitions (MTQ). "(Alquran) contested. With prizes. Was it a blasphemy?," he said.
Ahok felt nothing was wrong with his speech. He did not feel guilty, even widened talking about MTQ. And his supporters through social media use MTQ as justification. They were not only defend Ahok, but also attacked parties who have different opinion. It has been the trademark of social media and cyber army to be aggressive, cursing, and insulting. It happened because social media nature was crowd and bullying. Moreover, many anonymous accounts, robots and spin reviewed outside substance.
Yes, people may freely quote the Alquran or other holy books. However, the problem is rating the Al Maidah verse 51 as "a lied" and "you have been fooled". The difference in interpretation does not mean that one was lying or fooling the other and the other could claim to be right itself. No. The two, three, four and so on, all of them are correct. That's the Islamic norm.
Moreover, some parties interpret Ahok's statement as people were deceived and fooled by Al Maidah verse 51. If the first was meant to deny other commentations (tafsir), the second was even more heavier since it rated Al Maidah verse 51 as a "deception" and "tricking".
The two commentation of Ahok's statement arose in the public. It was not a bizzare if it caused a strong ripple. It came not only from nonexperts, but also from Islamic clerics and official institution such as Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI), they said it through an official statement.
Also read: Al Maidah 51 convolutes Ahok (2)